I was sitting at my desk when a young girl said “Please pass the Opti Fluid.” Opti who? Was most likely the look I wore. I’m sure my face dramatically contorted to a “HUH?!?” expression because she repeated “Opti Fluid” and motioned in the direction toward my right. I followed her gaze and spotted a bottle of WHITE-OUT….WHITE-OUT was Opti Fluid! Plus it helped that the words ‘ Opti Fluid’ were right on the bottle. I quickly grabbed the bottle and chuckled somewhat relieved, “Oh, you mean WHITE-OUT!”
Granted, I know that White-Out is a brand but since when did people begin to refer to the stuff by other names? Opti Fluid? Seriously? It’s WHITE-OUT! Am I so old that White-Out is no longer the verbage of the youth?
This got me thinking…about a lot of things…but mostly about my Pap. I think of him almost daily. Sometimes I smile, sometimes I tear up a little, sometimes I feel a huge lump forming in my throat as I choke back the tears and sometimes I spew fountains of saline and snot from the orifices of my head uncontrollably. However, the latter is happening less and my head and those around my head (in spewing distance) are thankful.
He was born in 1928. He recently went onto GLORY in Oct 2010. That’s a lot of life experiences. That’s a lot of White-Out now being called Opti fluid. I can only imagine the changes he experienced during his life time and I would love to ask him about them but….I can’t. I would love to sit and listen to him talk about his life and the magnitude of wisdom he gained by living it. I would love to hear how it was “back in the day” just one more time. I would love to hear him talk about his tools and all of the many jobs he performed with them. I would love for him to show me what he was building and excitedly explain the project to me step by step as he often did. I would love to ask him the many questions that my mind automatically generates as a “Oh, I’ll have to ask Pap that…” but then suddenly remembers that, I can’t.
I wish I would’ve taken notes when he told me of his life memories because some of it is difficult to recall now. He knew so much. He did so much. He experienced things that our current culture could never understand nor fathom. Yet, he was always willing to try the newest fad or activity of our day. Take dancing for example. I’m sure in the 1920-30’s dancing was entirely different from 2000’s right? But that didn’t stop him.
Shaking a tail feather! Not only was he dancing with the youth of the day but doing it in style with a glass of vino!
And what about fashion? I can only imagine how they dressed in the 1920-30’s. But he didn’t let fashion stop him. He was always sport for whatever came his way.
In Israel he met an Arab and dressed accordingly!
At the airport he sported a straw hat. Yes, it was much different and slightly more feminine (I don’t think farm boys wore straw hats with pink bows and lived back then) than the hats he wore in his day on the farm but it was a straw hat no doubt.
And being a farmer he knew A LOT about land. All land and any land, if it had dirt, he knew it. Because of his connection to the land you could often find him out and about on the land….looking, thinking, observing…even in other countries…
I didn’t realize what I had in my grandfather. I did, but not fully. Isn’t that the way it is though? Doesn’t the saying “We don’t realize what we have until it’s gone” capture it perfectly?
I urge you to appreciate what you have before it’s gone. Value those who are older in your family. Take time out of the craziness we call life to visit them and really listen to what they have to say. They are full of wisdom and sadly, this wisdom often dies with them. An entire way of life perishes when they do. I wish I had my Pap back for just one more day….one more hug…one more goodbye. But this wish cannot be granted. I have to cherish the pictures, the memories and the beautiful person that he was until we meet again someday.
In the meantime, I can look forward to becoming a creature of wisdom myself where White-Out will always be White-Out!!!